Chances are that unless you live in the Arizona desert, you will answer “no” to the question above. I had no idea there was such thing as a javelina until just recently. And of course, I have Sophie to thank for this enlightenment.

Lets start at the beginning. Earlier this spring, Sophie came home from preschool nearly everyday and talked about a javelina. She would tell me that javelinas live in the desert and they chase people and animals.

I had NO idea what the kid was talking about! It must be some word she made up or mixed up with something else. The kids were learning about Passover at the time, which chronicles the Jews journey through the Egyptian desert. Was there a so-called javelina in the Book of Exodus? I had no clue.

The javelina talk continued for weeks and I still had no idea what Sophie was referring to. Then one day, I did a search on the word “javelina” and the magical gnomes at Google brought back some interesting results. I stared at the computer screen wide-eyed and mouth open when I saw and read the following: “A javelina is a pig-like animal that lives in the Arizona desert. It is considered dangerous toward people and animal.”

So that little kid knew what she was talking about all along! But how did she know this, I wondered? Perhaps the topic came up at preschool. So I asked Sophie’s teacher if any of the kids have been talking about javelinas.

Sophie’s teacher giggled and pulled out a stuffed javelina doll and a book entitled, The Three Little Javelinas. Said teacher went to college in Arizona; so she is quite familiar with javelinas and instilled her knowledge onto the kids. Apparently I’m not the only parent who asked what a javelina was.

Now I can’t escape javelinas. These creatures are frequently photographed by my Arizona desert-dwelling friend, Melissa, at What I Saw. She keeps me fully informed on javelina sightings in her desert backyard.

So now I know what a javelina is, where they live, and what they look like. And what did I learn from the javelina experience? That I’ll never doubt Sophie again without verifying the information first!

30 Responses

  1. Having recently moved from south Texas, I know what a javalina is since we, too, have javalinas. They are actually a member of the peccary family, not pig family. They are game animals in Texas. You are wise to trust your little ones, though, because they come home with a lot of amazing information these days!

  2. Cute post! I just love Sophie!

    We have wild hogs (I guess they’re javelinas) here in Texas, though probably not as plentiful as Arizona. In fact, I’ve lived here 44 years and never seen one. The hunters in my family have seen plenty though. (Apologies to the animal lovers reading this.) The javelinas are mostly seen at night time. Makes me wonder where they are during the day. Hmmm.

  3. LOVE it, Leah. I find the Google definition interesting. They really are only a potential threat IF they, themselves, are threatened. For the most part, they will run like crazy to get away from people. Now if you come across them and their babies and threaten them, they can charge. And they have very, very razor-sharp teeth. They also have very poor eyesight, but keen hearing. The most fun fact about them is that the babies are ready to run with the javelina band after only 24 hours (I think… it’s a very, very short amount of time). I’ve seen them; they are as small as little rats and oh-so-cute! Thanks for the mention – and the mention of my javelina pals (their official name is ‘collared peccary’ because they do have a faint white collar around their necks).

    1. Thank you, Melissa, for setting the record straight with the javelinas and their name. I swear, I learn something about these creatures all the time. Sophie thanks you for the insight too!

  4. I am so amazed that I’ve never before heard of javelinas! It’s so cool that Sophie educated you–I LOVE it when that happens with my kids (more and more and more as they get older, about all kinds of things!). Between you and Sophie and Melissa, I now feel ready to take on the desert and the javelina! (p.s. what an adorable book title!)

    1. Thank you for commenting and glad you enjoyed the post. Needless to say, I won’t be visiting javelinas in the desert anytime soon.

  5. I never knew they were dangerous before now, Leah. I’ve always wanted to come across one. Guess I’ll edit that wish. The one in Melissa’s photo looked scary, but everything does in the dark! Glowing eyes do it every time.

    1. Melissa told me the javelinas are actually not dangerous. They can be scary only if they’re threatened or if their young are threatened. So good to know you don’t have edit your wish afterall.

    1. So true — kids know so much. I learn something from new from Sophie nearly every day. I’m glad I’m only seeing javelinas on the Web and in children’s books though.

  6. I have that book! A dear friend moved to Arizona some years ago and sent me that book when my little guy was born.

    My dad also has a stuffed animal javelina in his office 🙂

    1. I can’t believe you have that book! That’s great. Sophie LOVES the book. I’ll have to order it for her so she can keep learning about javelinas.

  7. I don’t think we have them here in Michigan, but I just think javelina is such a pretty word. You will be laughing now, but I thought this post will be about a young beautiful girl (back in Russia I had a friend her name was Evelina) and then I read your post and saw the picture of javelinas…. hahaha.

  8. I confess I had never heard of them, but when I asked my son he said ‘duh, Mommy, I worry about you…” I love kids for so many reasons, and have long ago assumed that even tho they were born after me they know more than I do and will always know more. I tend to believe them of the the evening news or how to do things, especially when it comes to programing my phone or setting the TIVO to record something,

    1. Isn’t it funny what kids know? My Sophie’s only 3 and I swear she knows more than me! Thanks for commenting.

  9. Thanks to Sophie and your post, I now know what a javelina is! 🙂 My sister and her family lived in Arizona about ten years ago and we visited one summer. Thankfully, I never made the acquaintance of a javelina though we did meet snakes, a variety of reptiles and plenty of tumbleweeds! It’s incredible what children pick up in school! Good for Sophie!

  10. Sophie sounds like me … the little girl with tons of random animal facts. 🙂 Although I must admit, I had never heard of a javelina until reading your post!

  11. Pingback: Stuffed Javelina

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